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The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) will hold an open day next week to present a new interchange option being considered for the Hamilton Section of the Waikato Expressway.
The open day will be held at the Marist Rugby Club, 147 Old Farm Road, on Wednesday September 19, from 2pm until 7pm.
The Agency has been working closely with key stakeholders, the Hamilton City Council and the Waikato District Council and has listened to comments gathered at previous open days for the Hamilton section. As a result a proposed interchange has been identified, which would connect the Expressway to Hamilton City, through Fifth Avenue and the Ring Road, currently under construction.
The Fifth Avenue option would replace the interchanges (previously proposed for Greenhill Road and Ruakura Road) with one interchange. It would also modify the layout of the proposed interchange with Morrinsville Road (SH26).
NZTA’s Waikato Expressway Principal Project Manager, Richard Young, says that the Fifth Avenue option would provide better connectivity to Hamilton City and support future growth on the eastern side of Hamilton.
Mr Young says the NZTA is encouraging people wanting to learn more about the latest proposals for the Hamilton section of the Waikato Expressway to come along on the day. 'The open day will give the community a chance to view the proposed interchange option, ask questions and give feedback on the proposal.'
'It was identified that the Fifth Avenue connection could not only provide a more efficient and cost-effective solution; it would also create a better connection between the Waikato Expressway, the eastern side of Hamilton and the central city,' Mr Young says.
Hamilton City Council staff will also be attending the open day, presenting information on its Ruakura Structure Plan.
Meanwhile, the NZTA is still developing interchange and local road connection plans for the Tamahere and Horsham Downs areas of the Waikato Expressway project. These will be further consulted on at a later date.
The Hamilton section of the Expressway is in the investigation and design stage. Construction is scheduled to start in 2015/16.
The Hamilton section is due for completion in 2019 and will connect to the Ngaruawahia section of the Expressway, due for completion in late 2013. It will reduce traffic congestion and improve safety on the Hamilton’s local road network by significantly reducing the amount of through traffic, including trucks.
The Waikato Expressway sections are currently at the stages described below:
The Waikato Expressway will provide for two lanes of traffic in each direction divided by a central barrier with local roads and interchanges generally serviced by bridges and underpasses. From the Bombay Hills to South of Cambridge it will be 102km, some 6km shorter than the current State Highway 1.
The Government has identified seven essential state highways that are linked to New Zealand’s economic prosperity, called the Roads of National Significance. The NZTA is charged with delivering this programme of state highway improvements within the next 10 years. This programme represents one of New Zealand’s biggest ever infrastructure investments and is a key part of the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan and Government’s Policy Statement for transport.
The seven projects are based around New Zealand's five largest population centres. The focus is on moving people and freight between and within these centres more safely and efficiently. The projects are 'lead infrastructure' – meaning they encourage economic growth rather than simply responding to it. Currently from north to south the seven projects are: